This post is written as part of Ruth Soukup’s Secret 13 Blog Tour, which I am excited to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more about the blog tour and join us, click HERE. To find out more about the Secret 13 Essay Contest and your chance to win a weeklong Carnival Cruise for 4, click HERE.
Last year at this time I followed the trend and picked just one word to focus on for 2014.
My word was DECLUTTER.
I had high hopes for this word. I was going to purge my whole house, from top to bottom.
I started with my own bedroom closet and dresser. I can honestly say they were both cleaned out and reorganized the first week of January and to this day they remain that way.
But by the end of February, I had completely forgotten about the word, declutter. And as I type this post on December 28, 2014 I am sitting in my dining room that also works as a make-shift office, books piled high, papers strewn over the buffet, rolls of gift wrap lying against the wall, and our extra chairs from Christmas breakfast still haven’t been put away. The room (and my home) is a complete mess.
In our defense, we left at noon on Christmas to visit family four hours away and didn’t get back until late Saturday night, but as hard as I try, our home is usually quite chaotic, and…
This is how we live.
Our family dynamics are changing and I have not adapted well. We’re on a mad train to crazy-ville. Our schedule is so jam packed with work, school, and multiple activities that my husband and I have completely abandoned any notion of calm. Our kids are young at 9 & 6 and we have resigned ourselves to the fact that this is our life for the next 12 or so years.
With all of the craziness, our home has been painfully neglected. It needs painted. Two doors need to be fixed. Dust bunnies have multiplied under our sofas and I can’t tell you the last time the windows were washed. School papers are piled on our breakfast bar and swim bags, shoes and coats have taken over our foyer.
Our home is simply the last thing that gets attention, but the first thing to get dumped on. We have let it go…for too long.
But I have a husband who is over-worked and under-appreciated. I have children who are over-scheduled and under-rested. And I feel like I am stretched thin trying to be a good wife, mother, manager, chauffeur, chef, and homemaker while still being able to pursue my own passions.
I have to tell ya, I’m not sure I can handle life this way for the next 12 years. But I completely bring it on myself and this is no recipe for success.
Creating the Good Life
“The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity. It is a life full of richness that God has to offer; a life spent building treasures in heaven rather than here on earth. It is not a life of laziness and greed, but one of discipline, hard work, and self-reflection. It may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is always full in abundance and completely secure in Christ.” – Ruth Soukup, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life
Recently, I had the opportunity to read Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Ruth Soukup of the website, Living Well Spending Less.
When I first got the book, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to read anything that I haven’t read before. But I was completely surprised by how honest and transparent Ruth was about her life.
Ruth writes about her own challenges with contentment, money, time, and health. She takes you through her 12 secrets to finding the Good Life, weaving her life story, scripture, and important lessons along the way.
There were two secrets in the book that I felt were especially written just for me–thanks, Ruth!
1. Less Stuff Equals More Joy
The clutter in my home isn’t a result of our over-spending, but more from our under-purging. When something comes into our home, it stays awhile–takes up residence and we are drowning.
Ruth asks the reader, how would your children be different if they weren’t overwhelmed by so much stuff? Ruth shares the amazing story of when she took her kids toys away. Yep, you read that right. And her kids survived and thrived from it.
Honestly, I haven’t taken my kids into consideration when I look around the current state of chaos around our home, but my husband and I are by no means being good role models. And by the looks of our daughters’ rooms, they are patterning their life after us. We need to set our standards higher.
On our 4 hour drive on Christmas day, my husband and I talked about our home. He agrees that we have let it go and we need to make some changes. We made a list of projects that we need to accomplish around our home in 2015 and removing the clutter is on the list.
2. A Clean House is a Happy House
This chapter begins with the quote:
“I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing,windows that need cleaning,and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home…I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.” Nancie J. Carmody
If only I could be so wistful towards the week’s worth of laundry sitting in my laundry room right now. But that pile is from our trip over several days visiting with extended family, celebrating the holidays, ice skating, and eating way to much–there are many stains to prove it. So today, that is my project.
Ruth stresses that a clean house will add happiness and creativity to the home, but when she told me that it was “my job”, I cringed.
Not because I disagreed with her, but because deep down, I know she’s right. I am the stay/work at home parent, and while my husband does help around the house it is inherently my responsibility to clean the house. We both agreed to this arrangement when we decided for me to stay at home.
I accepted that responsibility and I’ve fallen short.
She offers her cleaning routine as a guideline and I’m going to modify it to reflect our home and my personality. I want to create a home that is clean, inviting, happy, and creative.
The Good Life
As Ruth asks in her book, “the Good Life is waiting for you. Are you ready to find it?”
I can’t complain about my life. We have a very nice life. We are healthy. We have a roof over our head–it might be in disarray, but it’s a roof. We have full bellies and clothed backs.
But something is missing. I can feel it.
So, I’m jumping off this train to Crazy-ville and I’m headed towards the Good Life.
Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life is written for every woman who currently feels overwhelmed or stressed out with a life—and budget—that seems out-of-control. It speaks to the mom who is struggling to balance all the demands of her day-to-day life with the pressure to keep up with the all her friends. It is a practical guide for those of us who long to pull ourselves together but sometimes feel unsure of how to manage all the pieces of a chaotic life. It is the step-by-step guide to creating a life of meaning and joy we’ve all been waiting for.
Ruth’s book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life debuts December 30, 2014.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate, and if you make a purchase through my link, I earn a small percentage–at no cost to you! You can read the site’s full disclosure here.